Loma’s self-titled debut reveals a band obsessed with songs as sound. There are endless details to discover here, stoked by the album’s urgent and searching lyrical themes (exquisitely delivered by the translucent voice of Emily Cross); and on headphones, the album feels both intimate and expansive, like casting your eyes over a detailed painting on a vast canvas. It’s also the product of a joint pilgrimage around the globe by fellow touring musicians. Jonathan Meiburg is best known as the singer of Shearwater; Cross and the multi-instrumentalist and engineer Dan Duszynski form Cross Record, originally from Chicago.
Loma’s enigmatic debut feels beautifully adrift in time and space. It’s an album that takes you to a place you’ve never been, with a rare confidence in the strength of its own vision.
Though it was recorded off a dirt road in rural Texas, there’s no hint of country here: from the first airy notes of ‘Who Is Speaking?’ to the decaying choir of ‘Black Willow’, Loma create a hypnotic world of their own, where rustling leaves, fuzzed-out basses, panting dogs, prepared pianos and a wilderness of percussion form a backdrop for Emily Cross’s translucent voice. She’s a steady, clear-eyed presence throughout, even among the heart-pounding pulses of ‘Relay Runner’, the skittering drums of ‘Dark Oscillations’ and the galloping release of ‘Joy’; in sparer songs like ‘Shadow Relief’ and the haunting ‘I Don’t Want Children’, she’s a fearless ally, swimming calmly with you against a powerful undertow.
‘Loma’ is inviting but also beautifully self-contained, like a dream that stays with you all day. There’s something here for lovers of Nina Nastasia or Broadcast but also Linda Thompson, or The Silver Apples - even early Pink Floyd. Most of all though, this arresting and mysterious album marks the arrival of a band whose first steps already feel timeless. ‘Loma’ was recorded by the group at Dandy Sounds Studios in Dripping Springs, Texas and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.